Ascent of Nolan County High Point on 2018-02-02

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, February 2, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Nolan County High Point
    Elevation:2607 ft / 794 m

Ascent Trip Report

There are 15 candidate highpoint areas in Nolan County and it will take more than one visit to complete - all as per this one only TR. I have numbered the Areas a la PB.

VISIT 1 DATED 2015-02-02 .... successful at the 6 Eastern Areas (#9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14) off of FM608.
Our first priority this morning was to check out Shackleford/Taylor COHPs both inside Wind Farms. No access so we moved on to Nolan County which is no different, more windmills and locked gates.
We approached the 6 Eastern Areas from the east with little traffic in sight - the Areas are close to the main road FM608, requiring little time inside the land.
For this first visit we went-to/succeeded at all 6 of them - numbered a la PB, I visited them as listed here.
We checked out the 7 areas northwest of Maryneal. The guy at the house for Area 2, 3 & 4 wouldn't allow us to proceed, saying, "I just work here, and can't give you permission." It looks as if the other areas (including #1) can be accessed (!!!!) except for area 15 which we didn't check and may be a problem. Decided that it was not much use to continue without 2, 3 & 4.
Again I think a Sunday morning would be the right time to access these areas, as Arnold says "I'll be back."

VISIT 2 DATED 2017-01-29 ... successful visit to another 6 Areas (15, 5, 6, 7 ,8, &1)
Back for permission at AREA 2, 3 & 4 for the second time. There was no one home at the ranch house. By chance we chatted with a truck driver exiting from the "Katsco Energy Inc" entrance. He confirmed the Ranch Owner's name "Lorenzo Monroe" and said that he has heard that he is not very receptive to people on his property. "You can try to contact him, but good luck."
We decided to visit the remainder of the Areas. I will try and contact the ranch should there be a 3rd visit for the 3 outstanding Areas 2, 3 & 4.

UPDATE 2017-11-01
Rose and I ended our "2017 Texas Winter Trip" having visited all of the TX COHPs, but unsuccessful at 23 of them. So throughout 2017 I put in a major effort contacting/requesting-permission for these 23 outstanding counties - Nolan being one of them.
An April request-for-information-letter to the Nolan County Appraisal District Office was answered with an email, providing the owners contact information for the 3 areas in question (2, 3 & 4). A letter to the landowner went unanswered (Dale Martin Monroe, #7751 FM 608, Roscoe, TX. 79545).
This county is probably in the "NOT ACCESSIBLE" category, however the 3 remaining areas are very easy to access, so I'll be back should I be in the area.

VISIT 3 DATED 2018-02-02 .... successful at the remaining 3 areas (2,3&4), there-by completing the county.
We came back to the ungated entrance (Mile Marker 16.7M, below) and drove up to the house. As luck would have-it Doris answered the door, her husband Dale was out. After a friendly chat/some hesitation she allowed us to proceed.
She asked me, "Are you the fellow that sent us a letter a while back."
"Yes, I thought that perhaps I had the wrong address."
"Well my husband was too busy, so he put it aside, and never got back to it."
From the house we drove the service road .6 miles east (going right over AREA 2 200 yds behind the house, on-route) to AREA 4 at a fence line with a cattle grate, just past turbine #D1.
Half way back we parked and I went north 300 yds x-country to AREA 3 (hopping a fence).
We were in-and-out in 40 minutes.

This is another example that with a passion-to-succeed and that never-give-up-attitude, one will succeed.

From Sweetwater we found our way south to the JCT US70/FM608 and zeroed our odo.

00.0M ... JCT US70/FM608, we left westbound on FM608.
02.7M ... AREA #14, parked at open gated dirt road on the right, signed "Oil Field Traffic, Authorized Traffic only". I was tempted to drive in but Rose wouldn't have it for fear of getting locked-in. I walked the dirt road north about .6 miles, staying right at a fork for another .75 miles to the high ground (past an oil depot of sorts) - open pasture land, nothing obvious. I backtracked without meeting up with anyone.
03.0M ... AREA #13, parked on side of road, hopped the fence and walked the grass land 300+ yds north to the high ground.
03.5M ... AREA #12, parked at crest-of-the-road, crawled under the fence on the north side and stomped the grassland with sparse ash-junipers.
04.2M ... parked on the right side of the road, a locked-gated road on the left. This was my TH for Areas #10 & #11.
AREA #10. The HP is to the west in grazing land. I stepped over the old fence (cattle in the distance to the south) and walked the grass field to a wind farm service road for heading west. I found the high ground at approx half a mile, just east of the 3rd Turbine.
AREA #11, I walked, under the gate with a cattle-grate, northeast 250+ yards to the area between/south-of the 1st and 2nd Turbines, mostly ash-junipers with open areas.
06.8M ... AREA #9, parked on the right at a large new entrance to a 75 yard square gravel pad, the new gate has a cattle grate. The HP is north in grazing land.
I walked less than half a mile to the high ground between the Turbines (north of the service road), somewhat obvious.
We continued driving westbound on FM608.
09.4M ... JCT1170/608, stayed right on 608 nb in Maryneal.
10.1M ... over RR tracks on left is CR273 which leads to AREA 15 (details below).
16.7M ... locked gated entrance to "Katsco Energy inc" on right. with entrance to ranch house immediately after. The owner is Lorenzo Monroe. This is the access to AREAS 2, 3 & 4.
17.2M ... large entrance on the left to a Wind Farm serves as a Helipad. This was my TH for AREAS 5, 6 & 7 (4M, 1:35 hours RT). I walked up the road 100+yds, found a place to step over the old fence on the right of 608 and went east xcountry in grassland with patches of ash-juniper. Some small tracks eased the way.
18.0M ... gated wind farm road on the right leads 1M to AREA 8.
18.7M ... turned left on CR147.
23.7M ... turned left on CR134.
24.6M .... CR134 turns right, on left is gated wind farm service road which leads east 1.3M to AREA 1, found the BM "USCG SURVEY BENCH 1909, 1937"

AREA 15 .... successful, 2.2M, 1 hour RT.
From Mile Marker 10.1M (above), JCT FM608/CR273 in Maryneal, we drove southwest on CR273 for 9M to a right on CR254 (sign "Nena Lucia Office), 1.3M arrived at T-JCT.
-- we first went left (west) for 1M to a locked gate "Sheridan Lucia Land". The HP is 2+M further north. Probably an OK route, but we decided to check out the area to the east. We returned to the T-JCT.
-- we went right at the T-JCT for 1.5M to another T-JCT (the road to here has some rough spots, could be a problem when wet). The HP is to the left (west) at 1.1M (the road appeared driveable but we decided to hike it). This was my TH.
I hiked west .9M (90' ascent) to an oil pump platform, the high ground is 200+yds to the northwest, mid grassland/ash-juniper.
This is all oil/gas land, no wind farms.
HIKER BEWARE: on the way out we ran into a service truck doing his runs, the guy told us that we needed permission from the land owner - unfortunately he did not know his contact information.

AND IF I EVER FIND HER WE NEVER MORE WILL PART." ...... lyrics from "the yellow rose of texas".

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:107 ft / 32 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Route:visit to 3 areas
    Trailhead:FM 608  2500 ft / 762 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack

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